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  1. 1. -genre theories -subgenre/hybrid -genre conventions -genre purpose -audience link
  2. 2.  Write down your definition of genre.
  3. 3.  type; kind; sort; style.  a class or category of artistic endeavour (attempt) having a particular form, content, technique, etc. Form: -external appearance of a clearly defined area, as distinguished from colour or material the way something is formed/constructed/put together Content: -the subjects or topics covered Technique: -the manner and ability with which an artist, writer, dancer, athlete, or someone employs the technical skills of a particular art or field of endeavour. -method of performance; way of accomplishing.
  4. 4.  What is theory?  Theory is a system to try to understand and explain things from a specific point of view or perspective.  Theories evolve and develop over time through debate and exchange of ideas. Example, one person has an idea to explain something, then someone else criticized that point of view and this develops into discussion and debate. Over time it may be questioned therefore theories can be a chain of events of ideas and responses.  Theory provides interesting and exciting ways to look at texts, gain understanding, interpretation, appreciation and opinions.  In conclusion – there is not 1 correct ‘answer’, there are many different ways to examine a subject; theories.
  5. 5.  Feminist theory – examines the experience and representations of women in texts; think of how its changed over time:  Looking at a film from a feminist theory to analyse the representation of women Other examples of theory: -audience theory -genre theory -narrative theory
  6. 6. NAME THEORY (summarised) /theorists Chandler all things have a genre, this is a way to study texts and audience response Tudor genre needs recognizable elements/conventions before we can identfy it as genre “is what we collectively believe it to be” Altman 1) semantics/syntax - genre has become to preoccupied with semantics (signs/iconography) rather than CONTEXTS Altman 2) genre offers audiences a set of pleasures Stam There are other ways to classify films (other than drama, action, etc.) Grant all genres have a subgenre Feurer genre is abstract McQuail uses and gratifications theory (audience) Mittel industries use genre to sell products to audiences Metz genres go through typical cycle of changes during their lifetime Buckingham genre not given by constant process of negotiation and change Neale genres are processes of systemisation - they change over time
  7. 7.  ‘Genre’ is a critical tool that helps us study texts and audience responses to texts by dividing them into categories based on common elements. Chandler Common elements = conventions  Theory = all things have a genre, this is a way to study texts and audience response
  8. 8.  ALL GENRES HAVE A PURPOSE – example horror:   To frighten/disgust the audience Create negative emotional reactions by playing on audience’s  primal fears and vulnerabilities  Terror of unknown  Fear of death/injury    Startle the viewer (key scenes) Cause dread or alarm Invoke worst hidden fears  Yet…..Captivate and entertain!
  10. 10.  Give examples of genre in film.     1. 2. 3. 4. Horror = Drama = Action = Thriller =  Questions -How do you know the films fit under a specific genre? -What makes them that genre?
  11. 11.  What is the chicken n egg dilemma?  How can we relate this to genre?  Question: How do you firstly categorise genre? First you must categorize a film as ‘western’….but you must do this after you have watched other films…..dilemma! an you categorise before films exist? But 
  12. 12.  There is a similar dilemma with Genre….  Andrew Tudor:  “To take a genre such as the western, analyse it, and list its principle characteristics (conventions) is to beg the question that we must first isolate the body of films that are Westerns. But they can only be isolated on the basis of the ‘principle characteristics’, which can only be discovered from the films themselves after they have been isolated.” (1974)  “If we want to know what a western is, we must look at certain kinds of films. But how do we know which films to look at until we know what a western is?’ (1970)
  13. 13.   Commonly recognizable formal elements and common features (conventions) need to be identified before we can identify the genre. Most spectators (audiences) are familiar with the concept of established genre ex ‘horror’. It’s characteristics cannot be manipulated by critics; they are what the audience collectively believe them to be. However different cultures may have different views because of different values/ideals/life experiences.  “genre is what we collectively believe it to be”  Therefore genre can be ineffective and unreliable as there can be many variables  Actually defining a genre is naturally problematic ▪ E.g. What is the difference between an Action/Adventure film and a Thriller?  Or between a thriller and a Horror film?  Is Seven a Thriller, a Horror film, or a Film Noir? ▪ Is Film Noir a genre?
  14. 14.   Familiarity causes agreement/understanding Conventions function as agreement between: author + audience for what to expect in a genre  In a survey, the horror genre had the most agreed components than any other genre         Sense of horror Normal situations turning into death situations Blood & gore Weapons Murder/killing Action Presence of supernatural Iconic symbols of horror:     Haunted house Unknown creatures Dark places Flashing images These icons still exist in modern films but they evolve over time according to the era and audience (what terrified an audience 10 years ago does not terrify one now as the world is different)
  15. 15.  When conventions become predictable it’s because they are consistently or over used  BUT, genres are meant to be predictable because it is a set pattern that audiences like and identify with …… is successful if it registers meaning with an audience  It must be consistent, but not a carbon copy (original)  Successful = familiarity + novelty (newness)  But if they are disrupted, this can affect audience expectation:  Confusion  Anger/frustration
  16. 16. Iconography  Example: Western genre ▪ Costume: Cowboy Hat ▪ Setting: 19th century American West (time period, general location) ▪ Staging: saloons and rolling plains /prairies (buildings, specific locations, = details of these – what do they look like? Example: basement in isolated house which is run down) ▪ Star/celebrity: Clint Eastwood, John Wayne
  17. 17.  (lighting, music, cinematography (the art of film-making)) ▪ Deeper level of analysis = read layers in film production such as lighting and sound.  Example: FILM NOIR = Chiaroscuro lighting  HORROR FILMS = high pitched strings & Point of view shots to keep audience scared and on edge of seat, close up shots to capture the emotion/fear/facial expression of character to either scare of thrill the audience  = psycho shower scene = high pitched, fast paced, intense music  Many theorists use different terms to discuss these formal elements; Rick Altman = SEMANTICS. Formal elements are within the narrative (way story is told) therefore it would be odd to place them inappropriately, example = UFO in wild west or tap dancing in a thriller.
  18. 18.  Genre theory has become too preoccupied with semiotics (signs, iconography, meaning) rather than considering the historical emergence of genre movies. Theory ignores the fact that generic definitions were first introduced by the industry. In ignoring historical context there is no recognition for understanding how and why genre develop, mutate and rise and fall in popularity and audience is forgotten.  SEMANTICS = This is concerned with the conventions of the genre that communicate to the audience such as characters, locations, props, music, shooting style and other signifiers  SYNTAX = This is concerned with the relations between these elements and the structure of narratives in genres. Relevance of the overall meaning and purpose.   E.g. In a romantic comedy we expect the potential lovers to begin by not liking each other There are then a series of meetings/problems (enigmas) which end in their successful reunion/relationship
  19. 19. American Gangster Semantics (iconography in this) Syntax (overall meaning/purpose/ message) Example Italian American Gangster African American Gangster Jazz, guns, suits, flappers, violence, social class, police oppression Immigrant life, little Italy, racism/prejuduce, family, opera, guns, drugs, mafia, violence, police, pasta, corruption, Catholicism Inner-city ghetto, gang culture, rap, drugs, guns, bling, violence, brotherhood, drive-by shootings, racism, Alcohol and criminal action will lead to downfall of American society. Exploitation (abuse) of lower class. Critique of American Dream. Celebration of the antihero. Questioning society’s values of materialism. Exploitation (abuse) of lower class. Critique of American Dream. Exposing the failings of American race relations which results in marginalisation (isolation) of certain racial groups. Exploitation (abuse) of lower class. Critique of American Dream. Scarface Godfather TV: Sopranos Boys ‘n the Hood
  20. 20. Write down your answer:  Do you think it is as simple as classifying films into those few genres (action/horror/drama etc)?  Why or why not? Give examples in your answer.
  21. 21. Genre Categories: They are broad enough to accommodate practically any film ever made, although film categories can never be precise. By isolating the various elements in a film and categorizing them in genres, it is possible to easily evaluate a film within its genre and allow for meaningful comparisons and some judgments on greatness. Films were not really subjected to genre analysis by film historians until the 1970s. All films have at least one major genre, although there are a number of films that are considered crossbreeds or hybrids (mixtures/fusions) with three or four overlapping genre (or sub-genre) types that identify them.
  22. 22.  Sub-genres are genres that combine or share elements or characteristics of multiple genres.  Sub-genres seem inevitable that films (and genre) are ever changing and evolving; they don’t stay the same They develop their OWN familiar codes/conventions/elements/characteristics to make meaning to an audience    Example: THRILLERS (which are made to create intense thrill, suspense, anticipation and excitement on audience)   There are many reasons for this = Why do you think? There are different TYPES of thrillers….action thrillers, sci-fi thrillers, crime thrillers DISASTER (natural/weather, alien, creature, accident, planets/apocalyptic, criminal/terrorist,disease/zombie .
  23. 23.  All genres have sub genres (genre within a genre).  This means that they are divided up into more specific categories.
  24. 24.    Hybrid: fusion, mixture or crossbreed Hybrid genres are the fusion/merge of multiple genres that fuse together to make a new entity (genre) They further develop their OWN familiar codes/conventions/elements/characteristics to make meaning to an audience (complex at this stage!) Shawn of the dead = british + horror + zombie + parody Avatar = action, family, sci-fi, drama, romance
  25. 25.     Hybrid of action/adventure Swashbuckler = originally from small shield a swordsman carried (he was called a buckler) Tradition was he was a poor fighter who covered his lack of skill with noise/bragging; therefore swashbuckler was an insult. Over years, Hollywood developed the swashbuckling character into a loudmouth, bragging, careless/reckless, irresponsible hero. (swaggering adventurer, daring show–off type)  2 subgenre examples: Pirates & Buccaneers Peter Pan, Pirates of Caribbean -There were buccaneers, privateers and pirates. All operated by seizing ships, stealing their cargoes and killing their crews. -Buccaneers often worked under commission for countries (Ex British navy for Spanish) -Pirates operate without commission. They're  criminals. Aristocrats & Knights Three Musketeers, Robin Hood, Zorro The aristocracy are people considered to be in the highest social class in a society who were deemed as noble and given certain privileges; but they are just under royalty. A knight is a person granted an honorary title of knighthood by political leader for service to the monarch or country, especially in a military capacity. They have associations with honour, strength,
  26. 26.  Within both subgenres, a number of recurring characters and tales are taken from legends, mythology and class literature.  Common elements (conventions): Heroic characters          Villains Romance Codes of honour Exotic locations Swordfights Period costume Leading lady for romantic interest Victorious/conquering exciting battle Common messages/ideals: Brave deeds   Justice and fair play Good vanquish (defeat) the bad (usually by swordfight which is choreographed for exciting dramatic effect rather than to show realistic swordplay)  Underlying moral message: stories expose the dangers of an all powerful elite (top) class, when given free rein (ruling) they will exploit (abuse), and tyrannise (dictate/control) the less fortunate for materialistic gain. (basically, higher class will dominate and use/abuse the lower class for their own selfish reasons for things they want)
  27. 27. PIRATES Semantics Characters- pirates, sailors, captains, explorers, daughters of rich officials Rituals- walking the plank, rum drinking (yo ho ho) hoisting/rigging, sea battles, heroic & choreographed swordfights Locations- Caribbean, southern seas, islands Costume- scruffy shirts, ragged trousers, shirtless men on deck, hero = long leather boots, white sleeved shirts, cross leather straps villains = old style cavalier hat, posh Props- skull & crossbones, parrot, gold, treasure chest, big wooden boat, cannons, sword, gun, eye patches Story traits - search for buried treasure, shipwrecks, kidnapping, Syntax -code of brotherhood, outlaws breaking and disrespected establishment (laws) -strong anti-hero -celebration of underclass rather than the corrupt elite Examples Treasure Island, Peter Pan, Hook, Cut throat Island, Pirates of Caribbean,
  28. 28. ARISTOCRATS & KNIGHTS Semantics Characters- kings/queens/prince/princess, sorcerer/magician, swordsman, jester, wealthy land owners, oppressed, poor common people Rituals- duels, jousting, archery tournament, crusades, weddings, preparing for battle Locations- castles, dungeons, towns, villages, hamlets, lairs (hidden dens) rural settings Costume- metal armour, gauntlets, helmets, capes, robes, masks, crowns, corsets, jewellery Props- swords, shields, coat of arms, medieval weapons, bows, arrows, Story traits - secrecy, ransom, exile, treachery, revenge, loyalty/honour, romance, humour, hero's in disguise rescuing damsels in distress Syntax -Collective rather than individualism -State vs religion -Re-examining class divisions = stealing from rich to give to poor -fight against corrupt establishment and oppression of the poor -uniting the masses (even enemies) to overthrow exploitative elite Examples Three musketeers, The Count of Monte Cristo, King Arthur, Braveheart, Willow, A Knight’s Tale, Princess Bride, Merlin, Kingdom of Heaven
  29. 29.  Another way to approach the genre is by the key actors who have an association with the genre  Example: PIRATES: Pirates of Caribbean 1. 2. Johnny Depp (Captain Jack Sparrow) ‘carefree, loud-mouth hero’ Kiera Knightly heroine - ‘rich, innocent, daughter who can eventually become masculine and brave by picking up sword and outsmarts her male counterpart ’  1. 2. 3. Example: ARTISTOCRACY/KNIGHT Richard Gere, Clive Owen (King Arthur) Sean Connery, Kevin Costner, Russell Crowe (Robin Hood) Antonio Banderas (Mask/Legend of Zorro)
  30. 30.  There are other ways to classify films:  Some genres are not classified under the ‘main umbrellas’ but could be categorised by: -story content (the war film), -borrowed from literature (comedy, melodrama) -from other media (the musical). -performer-based (the Astaire-Rogers films) -budget-based (blockbusters), -artistic status (the art film), -racial identity (Black cinema), -location (the Western) -sexual orientation (Queer cinema).
  31. 31.  'genre is abstract’ (not perfectly clear) One theorist's genre may be another's sub-genre or even super-genre…. Basically Feurer argues genre is abstract or not clear because there is no set or correct definition. One person may believe what is ‘genre’ another person might see that as ‘sub genre’.
  32. 32. INSTITUTION:  Basically, understanding institution is about understanding ▪ who produces media texts ▪ what their set of codes and values is ▪ and their relationship to us as individuals  Genres that use key components (conventions) that are easily recognisable are particularly important….. WHY? BY WHO? TO WHO?  Producers of generic (common) genres and conventions depend on a certain amount of immediate communication with the audience: to be easily comprehensible
  33. 33.  Jason Mittell (2001) argues that industries use genre to sell products to audiences. Media producers use familiar codes and conventions that very often make references to their audience knowledge of society, other texts.  This theory argues that texts are created to sell and make money based on products that already exist.   Example: Vampire phenomenon List all the texts you can think of related to vampires.
  34. 34.  Genres go through typical cycle of changes during their lifetime  Think of how the ‘horror’ genre has changed over past 50 years…….
  35. 35.  genre not given by constant process of negotiation and change  Similar to metz – always evolving (depends on the world/audiences etc)
  36. 36.  genres are processes of systemisation - they change over time  Also similar to metz/buckingham  The way we define ‘films’ and film genre is always changing….now ‘horror’ is quite broad….we could classify films is so many ways (stam)
  37. 37.  What is audience?  Why is audience an important in media?  What factors must we consider if we analyse audience?  Example: AGE
  38. 38.  You can’t have a text without an audience! Successful genre = register meaning with audience  Similar films will follow, thus conventions develop    Example: Think of the success of paranormal activity and the impact its had on horror/thriller genres
  39. 39. Audience = the group who will view, participate or observe a text  There is a relationship between genre and audience  Why do audiences find genres satisfying?   (intended or not) Genre could be a means of satisfying an audience:  Audiences develop an understanding that certain expectations may be fulfilled and they may find pleasure in predicting what will happen next  Audiences know what to expect from a genre but at the same time want some variations to prevent dissatisfaction and even boredom  Thus any text in a genre is a combination of the familiar and the unexpected (inevitable lead into subgenre/hybrids)
  40. 40.  Things to consider about audience:  (babies, toddlers, children, teenagers, young adult, adult, OAP)  Gender (male/female/transgendered)  Race/ethnicity (asian, white, black, latino etc)  Social class (lower class (severe poverty), working class (near poverty), lower middle (average income), upper middle (above average income), upper (high earnings) ***(see next slide for categories)  Interests, hobbies (clubs, photography, boating, swing dancing, rowing, tattoos)  Social group (sporty, goth/emo, religion, punk, rocker, hippie)  Sexuality (straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual)  Location (country, part of country, city/town….irish/north/south/dublin/belfast)    Age Profession/role (mother, carer, teacher, student, business, author, etc.) Mass Audience = appeals/targeted to a wide variety of people (x factor or blockbuster films) Niche audience = appeals/targeted to a smaller specific group of people (chick flicks or indie films)
  41. 41. 20th century Grade Occupation A Higher managerial, administrative or professional B Intermediate managerial, administrative or professional C1 Supervisory or clerical and junior managerial, administrative or professional C2 Skilled manual workers D Semi and unskilled manual workers E Casual or lowest grade workers, pensioners and others who depend on the state for their income Group Description NRS equivalent 1 A 2 Lower Managerial and Professional workers B 3 Intermediate occupations C1 and C2 4 Small Employers and non professional self-employed C1 and C2 5 Lower Supervisory and technical C1 and C2 6 Semi Routine Occupations D 7 21st century Higher Professional and Managerial workers Routine Occupations D 8 Long term unemployed E
  42. 42.  Example: GENDER    MALES – sci/fi, action/adventure, gangster, war FEMALES – musicals, chick flicks, love story/romance AUDIENCE EXPECTATION   Genre depends on what audience expects to see Example: you pay to see a romantic-comedy, with anticipation of light-hearted entertainment, warm/feel good factor The industry is totally aware of audience and aims to make films to satisfy our expectations (needs/wants) Marketing of films plays on our knowledge of genre   ▪ ▪  Consider movie posters = not just title, denotation/connotation of images (iconography) However, iconography is dependant on our exposure to media texts (we acquire knowledge/understanding/familiarity over time of seeing a variety of similar images) Studio profit ▪ ▪ . Remember the film industry is a business (especially main stream films): its aims are to firstly make money! They adhere to genre restrictions because they will sell because they are familiar & recognisable for MASS audiences – it’s a tried and tested way of securing investments to be able to make films More independent labels might have different aims; more artistic for different NICHE audiences
  43. 43.  Genre also allows audiences to make choices about what products they want to consume through acceptance in order to fulfil a particular pleasure.  Theorist Rick Altman (1999) argues that ‘genre offers audiences ‘a set of pleasures’.  can also be linked to Denis McQuail’s (1972) theory on ‘uses and gratifications’
  44. 44. USE = for people to use media texts  GRATIFICATION = people get gratification from using media texts (Gratification = satisfaction, indulgence, fulfilment, delight, pleasure)   Basically, ‘uses & gratifications’ theory is a theory that argues that media texts are made to satisfy the needs and desires of it’s audience.
  45. 45.  Why do people use/seek the media? INFORMATION PERSONAL IDENTITY INTEGRATION & SOCIAL INTERACTION ENTERTAINMENT -finding out about relevant events and conditions in immediate surroundings, society and the world -seeking advice on practical matters or opinion and decision choices -satisfying curiosity and general interest -learning; self-education -gaining a sense of security through knowledge -finding reinforcement for personal values -finding models of behaviour -identifying with valued other (in the media) -gaining insight into one's self -gaining insight into circumstances of others; social empathy -identifying with others and gaining a sense of belonging -finding a basis for conversation and social interaction -having a substitute for reallife companionship -helping to carry out social roles -enabling one to connect with family, friends and society -escaping, or being diverted, from problems -relaxing -getting intrinsic (basic/essential) cultural or aesthetic enjoyment -filling time -emotional release
  46. 46.  There are many different theories, is one ‘correct’? Why/why not?  As a conclusion, it is fair to say, it is not clear to define what type a genre a film belongs too!